Wednesday, April 20, 2011

International Recognition for Bartlesville's Price Tower

Anyone who questions the validity of architecture as a tourism generator in Oklahoma got a firm rebuke last week. The unique skyscraper in Bartlesville known as the Price Tower was included on a list of Frank Lloyd Wright structures nominated for international recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (mercifully known as UNESCO). Just the nomination is a huge honor, and recognition as a World Heritage Site would mean a huge boost in international visitors to the Price Tower. The 19-story skyscraper currently houses an art center, boutique hotel and a struggling restaurant.

If approved the ten properties would join 911 other sites currently on the World Heritage List, of which only 21 are in the U.S. It's also interesting to note the FLW "serial nomination" is one of the first to be considered on its artistic merits. Most of the UNESCO sites in America are listed for their natural beauty, and those listed as cultural sites are recognized mostly for historical reasons. Not to say there is no historical significance to Wright's work- it most certainly influenced generations of architects. But the nomination focuses more on his architecture as works of art, and that is a first.

The List:
Unity Temple, Oak Park, Illinois
Frederick C. Robie House, Chicago, Illinois
Hollyhock House, Los Angeles, California
Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin
Fallingwater, Mill Run, Pennsylvania
S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc., Administration Building and Research Tower, Racine, Wisconsin
Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Arizona
Price Tower, Bartlesville, Oklahoma
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York
Marin County Civic Center, San Rafael, Californi

More details on the nomination from UNESCO
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Postscript.